In Focus: Louise Thompson

Mar 7, 2024Blog, In Focus, Member News

In venue management, meticulous planning meets the art of hospitality and every detail is thoughtfully curated to elevate the guest experience and create moments that linger in memory. It is in this intersection, where precision meets passion, that we find dedicated venue managers like Louise Thompson. Currently serving as Manager of Venue 114, Altitude Nine & Community Spaces, Sport and Community Venues Branch at Economic and Community Development Group/ Sunshine Coast Council, Louise began her career in the venue industry in her early 20s. Driven by ambition and determination, she secured the role of Manager for Sunshine Coast Council’s Community Venues portfolio by the age of 30.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, we are pleased to spotlight Louise, a remarkable woman who holds a leadership role in our industry. Together we delve into her distinctive experience of, and contribution to the opening of Sunshine Coast Council’s latest venue, Altitude Nine.

VMA: Last year the Sunshine Coast Council opened up its new venue Altitude Nine. You are the current venue manager, but you actually played an integral part in the construction and design of the venue – could you walk us through the concept and design process of Altitude Nine?

Louise: Yes, it has been a privilege to have been involved in the venue from the outset – aside from three structural pillar constraints, the venue was largely a blank concrete canvas, so in collaboration with Sunshine Coast Councils’ property management and workplaces teams and James Cubitt Architects (JCA), I was able to bring my experience of service and operational excellence to the space right from the beginning.

VMA: How do you perceive your role in the construction process, and how does it differ from your responsibilities as the venue manager?

Louise: My experience in venue and event management definitely assisted in the construction process and is quite similar in some respects as it felt like we were organising a VERY large event with communication, collaboration and teamwork being key along with the end goal of exceptional patron experience and creating the WOW factor.

Other important objectives included designing and delivering an inclusive, accessible, welcoming, safe venue, ensuring the space honoured and showcased the beauty of the region and aligned with Sunshine Coast Council’s vision and values.

VMA: What measures were taken during the construction process to ensure sustainability and environmental responsibility?

Louise: The Sunshine Coast City Hall building already had an impressive array of sustainability initiatives which Altitude Nine could benefit from and we wanted to further enhance this. The building was designed to achieve 5-star green star accreditation, which has been achieved since completion, and the design of Altitude Nine had to complement this accreditation. We conducted research and benchmarking to a variety of venue and event operations including waste generated from events, purchasing furniture which incorporated a sustainability focus/ wouldn’t require table linen to reduce water usage, and installed beer keg lines to replace the need for beverages in bottles and promote local brewery suppliers.

VMA: What were some significant challenges encountered during the design and opening phases of Altitude Nine, and how were they addressed?

Louise: Access to the venue and clear, concise communication needed to be paramount given that Altitude Nine is located on the ninth floor of a council admin building full of 800 employees. We brainstormed vast event scenarios, conducted multiple risk assessments, and implemented effective operational procedures to ensure we had a seamless process in place for our suppliers, patrons and staff to successfully operate business simultaneously.

VMA: From your perspective, what impact has Altitude Nine had on the local community and the broader venue management landscape, and what aspirations do you have for its future?

Louise: Whilst Altitude Nine’s brand, venue portfolio and cliental is still developing, the community feedback to date has been extremely positive. One of the key objectives was to build and activate a premium venue, exceed our client’s expectations and I am thrilled we have delivered on that. Altitude Nine is a unique venue, located in the heart of the new Maroochydore City Centre and gives our community the opportunity to celebrate, cultivate and immerse in this incredible space.

Altitude Nine is available for hire from 6.00am – 10.00pm, 7 days per week and this licensed, premium venue can accommodate up to 180 people cocktail style, 150 theatre style and 100 people for long lunch style events.

VMA: International Women’s Day is today, what significance does this day hold for you personally?

Louise: International Women’s Day is a date very close to my heart as the World collectively takes a moment to reflect and celebrate women and hopefully gives every woman the opportunity to realise how incredible she is and courageously shine bright as her true authentic stunning self.

VMA: How does Altitude Nine/Sunshine Coast Council promote diversity and inclusion, particularly regarding women’s representation in leadership roles?

Louise: Sunshine Coast Council has an incredible, female CEO who has implemented positive change across the organisation through reviewing and updating Council’s staff values, highlighting the importance of diversity, inclusion and leading by example. I would like to see increased female representation and equality across all organisations as we bring a different perspective and efficiencies in business and leadership. Collectively and cohesively (male/ female/ non-binary) we can productively achieve greater outcomes.

VMA: Can you share an example of women who have inspired you in your professional and personal life and how have they influence your journey?

Louise: My beautiful Mum inspires me and continues to amaze me. She is full of vitality and loved her profession as a nurse for 45 years. Nurturing and loving people and life are just some of Mum’s remarkable attributes and she has taught me not to sweat the small stuff, take pride in your work, be kind, laugh out loud lots, and the importance of looking after yourself as a mother, wife and career woman.

VMA: Are there any specific initiatives planned for International Women’s Day to celebrate and empower women within the venue’s team and the wider community?

Louise: Yes! We are curating our first event in Altitude Nine on International Women’s Day. This sold-out cocktail-style networking evening is designed to celebrate, empower women, highlight the importance of courage and kindness and showcase three amazing local women who will share their incredible stories.


As we conclude our interview, let us continue to celebrate the achievements of women like Louise, who lead with compassion, resilience, and determination far beyond International Women’s Day. We also invite you to explore Altitude Nine and witness firsthand the transformative power of exceptional venue management – click here.

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